The Department of Education (DepEd) said Friday, August 12, it is planning to have at least one security personnel per school to ensure safe spaces for learners, teachers, and other non-teaching personnel.

The DepEd made the statement after an incident of sexual abuse against four elementary teachers in Ocampo, Camarines Sur.

In a text message, DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa said they would enter into an agreement with other agencies to ensure the hiring of security personnel.

“The Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) aims to use the special education fund collected by local government units as a funding source for things like repairs of schools and hiring of at least one security personnel per school. The JMC has yet to be drafted. There is no set target date yet for signing,” Poa said in an interview.

The DepEd earlier condemned the alleged sexual harassment, saying the department is now working on a JMC with the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Department of Budget and Management.

Even the Alliance of Concerned Teachers has expressed the need to hire security personnel, noting that safety risks abound in schools under the current setup.

“The incident only exposes the vulnerability of our schools to scumbags who are out to harm innocent people. This should serve as a wake-up call for the government, which has neglected our schools for so long that they cannot even employ security personnel to guard the safety of our teachers and learners. Such neglect should stop now,” the ACT said.

The DepEd, meanwhile, called on the Philippine National Police to investigate the incident, while ensuring aid for the victims.

“The department will provide the necessary aid to the victims, including financial assistance and psychosocial intervention,” the DepEd said.

Based on initial information, the victims were preparing for the upcoming class reopening when an armed man entered the Ocampo school’s premises on August 9.

The armed suspect then allegedly abused the teachers sexually in broad daylight.PNA